Ronaldo believes that three attackers are amongst the best football players ever

Ronaldo Nazario is one of the best players of all time.

The Brazilian great won the World Cup with the Selecao in 1994 and 2002 and won the Ballon d’Or in 1997 and 2002.

In addition to these successes, the striker enjoyed an illustrious club career which saw him don the shirt of European giants PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan.

Ronaldo, then, is one of the ideal candidates to determine who the greatest players of all time really are.

Ronaldo selects his four best players

When asked for his opinion on who he considers the best players of all time, Ronaldo named four individuals.

Speaking at a media event organised by Santander in 2020, he said (quotes via Goal): “For me, in the classification of the best in history, the four names would be Pele, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They are the top four in the history of football.”

Notably, the icon did not name himself. This only furthers his modesty, as there is no doubt that the scintillating striker would be able to compete with the four names on his list.

What made these four players the greatest?

Pele

When people consider the greatest players of all time, Pele is always right up there. Arguably the only Brazilian more iconic than Ronaldo himself, Pele was deadly in front of goal.

Scoring 655 goals in 700 ‘official’ appearances for Santos and New York Cosmos, Pele’s statistics speak for themselves. He also netted 448 goals in international friendlies and friendly tournament, with his career goal tally standing at 1,248 goals. In addition, the iconic forward notched 77 times in 92 appearances for Brazil.

Pele also won the World Cup with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and was named Player of the Century by football magazine World Soccer in 2000.

Diego Maradona

Another player revered as much as Pele is Diego Maradona. However, while Maradona also possessed great goalscoring capabilities, his ability to glide past players with ease was simply joyous.

Maradona enjoyed a successful club career, most notably with Napoli. Furthermore, the Italian side’s stadium is named after the Argentine legend.

Maradona has won the Ballon d’Or twice (1986 and 1990), and almost single-handedly won Argentina the World Cup in 1986. He made football appear effortless and brought joy to so many.

Whilst the other three players on the list can be seen as genuine forward players, Maradona operated as more of an attacking midfielder, with an ability to drop deep when needed as well.

Lionel Messi

A player often compared with Maradona, Lionel Messi’s club success is matched only by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Argentinian won the Copa America with his nation in 2021 and possesses the ability to get fans off their feet.

Messi has won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times and won four Champions League during his time with Barcelona, scoring an incredible 474 goals in 520 appearances for the Spanish club.

But despite the statistics, the way the Argentine moves the ball is like no other. Football is donned the ‘beautiful game’, and Messi embodies that.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player from the current generation who can match Messi’s output. The attacker scored 311 goals in 292 matches for Real Madrid.

In addition, the Portuguese great has won five Champions Leagues, one with Man United and four with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo’s work rate is unmatched. Starting out as a winger, before transforming himself into one of the deadliest strikers of all time, the Portuguese icon – who also won Euro 2016 with his country – is always striving to prove himself.

In addition, with six Ballon d’Or’s to his name, and having proven himself at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, there is no doubting Ronaldo’s place on this list.

Featured Image Credit: Getty